What Kind of Dating Relationship Describes the One You Have with Your Company?
Interviewing for jobs has aptly been equated with dating by many. You can’t appear too eager; you spend the whole time wondering if they like you as much as you like them; and then when it’s over you anxiously await a phone call or email to see if you made it to the next round.
If applying for jobs is like dating, then working for a company is much like being in a relationship. The question is, which of these dating relationships best describes you and your company? And what does that mean for the future health of your working life?
Honeymoon stage: You just started at your company and you’re still getting to know each other. Everything is new and different from your last job, so you’re just soaking it all in and trying to learn all you can. Even if there are a few red flags, you usually brush them off in favor of all the great new perks you’re enjoying, like that shorter commute and $10k raise!
Outlook: Hard to say at this point. Check back in after six months!
Healthy and stable: If you’re lucky, the honeymoon phase transitions here. Yes, your company has a few annoying quirks, but you’ve found your place in it and you’re comfortable and happy. You’ve taken down your resume from the job boards (or at least stopped looking at them), and you wake up most mornings with a good feeling about seeing your co-workers.
Outlook: Excellent. Barring any major changes in management, you and your company have a long and prosperous future ahead of you.
You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling: You might have already gone through the honeymoon and even healthy/stable stages, but something has gone wrong. Maybe your company has started taking your awesomeness for granted after all these years, or some organizational changes have altered your role and you’re just not that into it. Maybe you’re just looking for a change of scenery, a promotion, or a new challenge.
Outlook: Fair. You might be able to improve the relationship by having “the talk” with your manager. You might be tempted to flirt with other companies to make yours jealous, but at that point, isn’t the relationship already on the downswing?
Emotionally unavailable: You go to work every day because you need the paycheck, but your heart just isn’t in it. Your company is a decent place to work, but it really doesn’t inspire you, and you find yourself jealous of friends who work at more fun, interesting companies. You do the bare minimum to not be labeled a bad worker because you don’t want to be unemployed.
Outlook: Not good. You’ll probably stay at this company a little too long because you’re “comfortable,” but make sure that you get out before they find a new employee who’s more into them.
Immature: Although you enjoy most things about your job, you have realized that your company is way too immature. Instead of directly communicating with you about problems, management sends you passive-aggressive emails or passes messages through others. Your boss has mood swings that affect your ability to work together, and the company itself is constantly reorganizing to try to fix all their problems. Your co-workers organize into cliques and cause drama.
Outlook: Very shaky. If the company and senior leadership has promise, it might be worth holding on to see if they can grow up enough to be a stable partner. Give it another few months, but keep your options open.
Jealous and controlling: Your company is only happy when it’s monopolizing all your time. It’s so suspicious that it reads your emails and monitors the length of your lunch hour to make sure you’re not out talking to other companies. It also loves to tell you how to do each little detail of your job so much that you wonder why they even like you so much, since it’s clear they don’t trust you.
Outlook: Poor. When you feel that you cannot use your skills to their best advantage and your boss doesn’t trust you, it’s a recipe for disengagement and misery.
Abusive: Your boss and/or co-workers talk to you in a rude manner and make you feel bad. You dread going to work; the environment is toxic. You may have even been bullied and/or harassed in some way.
Outlook: Leave immediately and/or report the situation to HR. No company, boss, or co-worker should ever make you feel threatened in any way.